NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard pitched out of trouble in a rusty return from the disabled list and helped himself with an RBI single as the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night.
Amed Rosario tripled and doubled, both times over Bryce Harper‘s head in center field, and the Mets won for only the sixth time in their last 26 home games. Brandon Nimmo had three hits for New York, which built a three-run cushion in the first inning against struggling starter Tanner Roark.
Matt Adams homered for the inconsistent Nationals, who fell back to .500 at 47-47. They have lost just three of 13 games at Citi Field since the start of last season.
After missing seven weeks with a strained ligament in his right index finger, Syndergaard (5-1) came out firing 99 mph fastballs. But he gave up seven hits in five innings and never retired the leadoff hitter.
Still, the 2016 All-Star held the Nationals to one run while striking out three and walking two. Wilmer Difo made things easier by running into the first out of the third inning at third base, and Syndergaard retired Anthony Rendon and struck out Harper with two on to limit the damage.
Difo had doubled to drive in Roark, who opened the inning with the first triple by a Washington pitcher since Joel Hanrahan in 2007.
Syndergaard also got Harper to ground into an inning-ending double play with two runners aboard in the fifth. The right-hander was pulled after 75 pitches.
Seth Lugo overcame a wild start to his relief outing and worked two hitless innings. Robert Gsellman gave up Adams’ upper-deck shot in the eighth but got six outs for his fourth save.
Roark (3-12) became the first 12-game loser in the majors this season. He allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.
The right-hander has lost his last five starts and six decisions since his most recent win June 6 against Tampa Bay. Washington has dropped his past seven starts and nine of his last 10.
Jose Bautista and Devin Mesoraco each had an RBI single in the first, sandwiched around Wilmer Flores’ sacrifice fly. Rosario tripled off the center-field wall to open the second and scored when a smiling Syndergaard lined a single to right field.
Nationals: SS Trea Turner was rested in favor of Difo as Washington started seven left-handed hitters against Syndergaard. Turner flied out as a pinch hitter leading off the ninth. … RHP Koda Glover is scheduled to pitch Saturday for Class A Potomac after his rehab assignment was moved up from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The reliever has been sidelined all season by right shoulder tendinitis and will probably require eight or nine appearances before he’s ready to come off the disabled list, manager Dave Martinez said.
Mets: OF Yoenis Cespedes (right hip flexor) ran the bases at the team’s complex in Florida and was scheduled to do so again Friday, according to manager Mickey Callaway. “He came out of it really good. He feels good and is progressing,” Callaway said. “He’s going to run the bases again today and then we’re hoping that, kind of move on to the next step after that.” Cespedes has been out since mid-May. … LHP Jason Vargas (strained right calf) is set to make another rehab start for Class A Brooklyn on Saturday.
To open a spot for Syndergaard, the Mets optioned LHP P.J. Conlon to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Nationals RHP Austin Voth makes his major league debut against Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.42 ERA) and the Mets on Saturday. The 26-year-old Voth, a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 out of Washington, was 4-5 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple-A Syracuse. Wheeler, pitching in some poor luck, is 0-5 over 13 outings since his last win April 29 at San Diego. That’s the longest stretch without a win for a Mets starter since 1998. The right-hander is 2-8 in 11 career starts against Washington, including 0-6 with a 5.71 ERA in six games at home.
By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer, Associated Press